Use Case: An Investment Advisor firm has required paperwork that needs to be completed when they bring on a new customer. New client onboarding has been considered one of the most stressful things that Investment Advisors and their firms go through. Every company in the industry has invested a lot of time, thought, money and energy into streamlining the process. Some try to offload as much of the process as possible to a third party and others take the burden on themselves. A universal challenges is asking customers to fill out and return complex forms and sign paperwork in a timely manner.

Key Challenges

  • Today, customers expect convenience which includes digital access to their Investment Advisors. Customers’ needs go beyond online access to balances and account statements. They want multiple access points and they want to decide whether or not they visit a branch, make a phone call or video conference.
  • Firms use technology to create efficiency which ultimately allows them to scale their practice. As the advisory firm grows, it becomes more and more important to have solutions in place to ensure that clients receive the high level of service that they expect. In today’s digital society, customers expect their Investment Advisors to be on par with their other daily digital interactions.
  • Some firms still see the customer onboarding process as either a back office function that needs to be cost contained or a front-office automation tool. These firms do not realize that their client onboarding process and digital customer access is a way to differentiate from the competition.
  • Onboarding a new customer takes time and energy due to paperwork, signatures and regulatory requirements. As mentioned above, every firm has attempted to streamline this process. Delays in paperwork ultimately delays revenue and the official start to the client relationship.
  • With today’s regulations and compliance, Advisors and their staff are always on the lookout for how changes in technology might impact their ability to follow regulatory rules and procedures. When asked about ongoing concerns, Advisors and their staff have stated that they are concerned that regulatory and compliance issues might slip through the cracks.
  • One of the most significant issues for the financial services industry is that over the next several decades, the aging Baby Boomers will transfer an estimated $30 trillion in assets to Gen X and Millennial children. If studies are accurate, financial advisors will need to reinvent and adapt their business to have a chance at retaining assets.

“With the right tools in place, Advisor firms can turn client onboarding into a scalable and efficient practice instead of something that causes stress and worry to the entire team.”

Current Workflow Considerations

Some investment firms onboard customers by sending out a form package in the mail. Others publish pdfs through their website and ask clients to download, print, sign and return by mail (or email). Some firms use an eSignature provider to help expedite the process and other firms have a digital process in place.

According to a 2019 Digital Transformation Survey by BDO, while digital transformation is a priority in financial services (68% have a strategy in place), the industry in general is still behind the curve with only 14% are in the process of implementing their strategy.


BDO 2019 Digital Transformation Survey

Typical new account workflow in Advisor firms includes a blend between digital tools, traditional paperwork and wet signatures. For the most part, paperwork continues to represent a burden for both clients and administrative staff. The primary reason is that most clients need to be walked through complex paperwork and forms. The forms are full of proprietary checkboxes and selections that are either specific to the fiduciary or to the Advisor’s firm.

With new trends in investment management, digital solutions can help make the customer onboarding process easier. However, with more complex paperwork – a hybrid approach that blends human expertise and digital tools works best. With the right tools in place, investment firms can turn client onboarding into a scalable and efficient practice instead of something that causes stress and worry to the entire team.

Top management priorities for investment firms

  1. Improving the efficiency of their firms
  2. Enhancing client service and delivery
  3. Investing in new technology
  4. When it comes to technology, security is a top priority

How does Liveoak improve workflow?

Our team here at Liveoak has had the opportunity to talk and correspond with many Advisor firms about how we can help improve their customer onboarding process. Our primary observation is that all firms are different and some have adopted more technology than others. What is also true is that because technology is rapidly changing, not all Advisors are fully aware of the tools that their firms have adopted.

Customers expect Advisors to provide omnichannel access

Today’s customers expect omnichannel access to their Advisor. Meaning, customers want the flexibility to choose how they communicate with their advisor – digital/remote, branch/office, phone, email etc. For digital/remote customer experiences, the Liveoak digital platform provides Advisors and their staff with the ability to quickly create private, digital conference rooms. The purpose of the digital conference room is for Advisors and staff to meet and complete work face-to-face with remote clients that they might not otherwise be able to meet with in person due to location or other circumstances.

All the work is completed through a single, digital platform

Inside a Liveoak powered conference room, paperwork and forms can be completed, supplemental information can be gathered, customer identity can be verified and both the customer(s) and Advisor can securely sign documents through Liveoak’s secure integration with Docusign.

Work gets completed (including eSignature) while inside the Liveoak powered conference room which is different from standard videoconferencing and web meeting technology where folks are talking with one another or presenting information.

Liveoak can stand alone and run in parallel to existing systems or seamlessly integrate into a wealth management workstation (WMW). Liveoak’s platform creates an incredibly convenient, branded experience for clients – to be able to complete the entire process in one single, digital conference session from any location.

Prevent customer procrastination and quickly engage

With Liveoak’s platform, work is completed in minutes vs. days or even weeks. Having a representative use Liveoak’s platform to personally walk a customer through the onboarding or transaction process yields the best results in the shortest amount of time for both customer and Advisor. No paperwork procrastination or customer confusion happening with Liveoak.

Liveoak helps promote business growth by creating and supporting efficient customer interactions.

The above image demonstrates how Liveoak can be used to provide live assistance to remote customers who wish to complete paperwork and forms online. In this example, a representative walks the customer through the forms and the customer signs the forms while still inside the  Liveoak powered conference.

Liveoak’s digital platform supports compliance

To alleviate Advisors and their staff’s concerns about compliance and regulations slipping through the cracks, Liveoak offers the Complete Audit, full tracking and recording of all activity that happens inside each conference. All conference activity, keystrokes by participant, data and supplemental files are recorded (i.e. keys typed, files uploaded, each individual action is recorded), which includes conference session audio and video recording. The conference data collected creates a full audit trail which can be used for compliance records and integrated into customer CRM or other data systems.

When Advisors onboard customers through Liveoak’s digital platform, forms and information can be checked for completion which reduces errors and ensures that the forms are in good order. An updated client onboarding process has the ability to reach across a firm’s CRM platform, data and compliance which can help improve the system as a whole which supports growth.

Digital customer access is a way to differentiate

The great transfer of wealth from Baby Boomers to Gen X and Millennials that is now underway is guaranteed to bring about many changes to the financial services industry. Firms today are vying to position their products and services in a way that will be relevant, appealing and sticky to the younger generations. Without adapting and changing, today’s firms are at great risk.

Through Liveoak’s platform, Advisors have the ability to differentiate by offering a hybrid approach – personal service combined with digital access. Meeting customers where they are and offering flexible access is an important step towards winning over current and future customers.

As time goes on, Advisor firms will increasingly rely on technology to enable a digitally-driven customer experience.

Early results from Advisor firms using Liveoak’s platform:

  • New customer onboarding time dramatically reduced
  • Client friction points reduced by providing real-time, remote assistance in completing complex paperwork and transactions
  • Client satisfaction increased by having remote access availability
  • Advisor and support staff satisfaction increased due to increased productivity
  • Increased closing ratios for asset rollovers

As previously stated, Liveoak is different from web and video conferencing technology on the market today. The Liveoak platform includes conferencing as a feature but this is not what defines Liveoak. Liveoak is fully focused on providing digital solutions that enable Advisors to transact business and offer a high level, branded experience to their customers who are not in the same physical location.

About Liveoak Technologies

The Liveoak cloud platform seamlessly integrates best-in-class video conferencing, screen-sharing and data/ID capture with forms collaboration and e-signature capabilities that let your teams deliver white-glove service to your customers. We help enterprises close more business, eliminate nearly all “not in good order” paperwork and turn customers into passionate brand advocates.

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